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Want to know what is on our minds? Find blog posts written here, by the City Club staff, members, and partners. Every week you can find a new edition of #FreeSpeech in the News — a collection of related stories, commentary, and opinions on free speech in the 21st century that’s making the news. You’ll also find takes on current events, past forums, and issues surrounding Northeast Ohio. Read on for all things City Club.

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Wednesday, September 02, 2020

#FREESPEECH in the News September 2, 2020

Bliss Davis, Content and Programming Coordinator, The City Club of Cleveland

#FREESPEECH in the News September 2, 2020

As the Citadel of Free Speech here in Cleveland, we work to protect and promote the basis of our democracy by sharing related stories, commentary, and opinions on free speech in the 21st century. Here's what's making the news – and what you should know about – in the past week.

1.) Ben Shapiro loses free speech lawsuit against UMN over venue change

A judge determined Friday that University of Minnesota officials were driven by safety concerns in conservative speaker Ben Shapiro’s freedom of speech lawsuit, according to the Pioneer Press.

Shapiro and the groups that sponsored his campus visit – Young America's Foundation and Students for a Conservative Voice – filed a lawsuit in July 2018, alleging that the University held the event on a smaller venue on the St. Paul campus instead of a larger venue on the Minneapolis campus due to political bias.

“As a result of the forced relocation to the [North Star] Ballroom, many students were prevented from attending and participating in the speaking event, and Shapiro was forced to speak to less than half the number of students that desired to attend,” read the lawsuit. U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson ruled the University had legitimate safety concerns after Shapiro events at other universities inspired hundreds of people to protest, the Pioneer Press reported.

2.) Kenosha protesters sue city claiming arrests, curfew violate free speech rights

Four people arrested for curfew violations while protesting the shooting of a Black man by a white policeman in Kenosha, Wisconsin sued the city and county governments on Tuesday, claiming they were denied free speech rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

The plaintiffs argue that more than 150 people protesting the shooting have been taken into custody while pro-police demonstrators have been allowed to freely take to the streets, according to the lawsuit filed in federal court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin.

Kenosha has been the scene of sometimes violent protests after video footage surfaced showing a police officer shooting Jacob Blake, 29, multiple times in the back.

Blake was left paralyzed from the waist down and the officer, Rusten Sheskey, was placed on administrative leave during an investigation.

3.) Oregon governor announces plan to bring violence to an end, protect free speech in Portland

Oregon Governor Kate Brown unveiled a plan that she says will end violence and arson in Portland while also protecting the free speech of protesters. The governor unveiled the so-called Unified Law Enforcement Plan on Sunday, following a deadly shooting downtown.

Gov. Brown said she will be asking sheriff’s deputies from both Clackamas and Washington county, as well as officers from Gresham, to support Portland Police in keeping the peace.

Brown said Oregon State Police will continue to offer personnel, resources, and body cameras to the Portland Police Bureau. She also said the U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI will commit additional resources to the plan. The governor is convening a community forum on racial justice and police reform, which will include Black protest organizers and community leaders, as well as Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.

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